West Africa

Within West Africa, there is considerable variation in the staple food. Rice is predominant from Mauritania to Liberia and across to the Sahel, a region that stretches across the continent between the Sahara and the southern savannas. Couscous is the prevalent dish in the Sahara. Along the coast from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to Nigeria and Cameroon, root crops, primarily varieties of yam and cassava, are common. Cassava, imported from Brazil by the Portuguese, is boiled and then pounded into a nearly pure starch. Yam is the chief crop in West Africa and is served in a variety of dishes, including amala (pounded yam) and egwansi (melon) sauce. Millet is also used for making porridge or beer.

Palm oil is the base of stew in the Gambia, southern, and eastern regions. In the Sahalian area, groundnut paste (peanut butter) is the main ingredient for stew. Other stews are based on okra (a vegetable native to the

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